If I had a rupee for every time I read a comment on social media saying plus-sized influencers are promoting obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, I would be well on my way to joining the ranks of the Ambanis. Let me be honest, I am a fat woman, and while I am not proud of my body, I am also not ashamed of my existence. And why should I be? Being fat is not a crime. In a world where being beautiful means being slim and slender, finding someone who looks like me, and feels confident about her body, makes me happy. It makes me feel seen.
According to the internet, slim women can celebrate their bodies, but the moment a fat woman does that, she is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. How does that work? And why do people think body positivity equates to promoting obesity? Here are all the reasons why being body-positive doesn’t mean being a promoter of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Not all bodies need to look the same
Not all of us are cut from the same cloth, and we aren’t meant to look like Xerox copies of each other. Which means every body will look different.
I was born like a ball of yarn, all round and squishy. And the big body size I was born with continues to stay with me. I have worked out, gone on diets, and even lost a few kilos. But I have also gained them all back due to stress and other issues. And all thanks to PCOS, it is also difficult for me to lose weight, and at the same time, I need to lose weight to control my PCOS. Quite a conundrum, don’t you think?
Just because a person is on the heavier side doesn’t mean they are necessarily unhealthy or promoting obesity. Some bodies are the way they are due to genetics, some others due to health conditions like thyroid or PCOS, and some bodies are bigger due to bad habits.
Loving your body isn’t promoting obesity
After a lifetime of being called names and being made fun of for being fat, it took me almost three decades to finally accept and love my body. But that doesn’t mean I am telling people to become fat. That only means that I am finally okay with the way my body looks and that I won’t let the way I look be a hindrance.
The body positivity movement is not about saying, “Hey, I am fat and I am so happy about being 50 kilos overweight.” Body positivity is about saying, “Yes, I have a big body, but that’s okay. My bigger body deserves as much love as a slimmer body.” Loving your body means accepting what your body looks like and making peace with the fact that irrespective of the size, your body deserves respect and love. It is about being confident rather than hiding in a hole. And take it from me, hiding in a hole isn’t as great as it’s made out to be.
Body size isn’t always an indicator of health
I have been overweight, eating healthy, working out religiously, and able to walk for 5km without losing my breath. But I have also met people whose metabolism works at 2x speed, and their daily diet of pizza and burgers doesn’t show on their bodies, but climbing two flights of stairs took them out. So, the size of your body isn’t always proportional to how healthy you are.
Your health can’t always be judged by how your body looks. It should be judged by what your body can do.
Wanting change doesn’t mean hating your body
I have finally reached a point where looking at my body in the mirror doesn’t make me feel like hiding under a rock. I have come to a stage where I am finally experimenting with the kind of clothes I always wanted to wear, but didn’t because I was too conscious of the flab spread across my body. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t want certain changes in my body. I do want to lose a few kilos, not because I don’t like myself, but because I want to limit my chances of getting bad cholesterol and heart disease.
Look, you can accept and love your body today and still want to change it over time. There is no hard and fast rule that says if you love your body, you can’t want to change it. So, for anyone who asks, “Oh, if you are so body positive, if you love your body so much, why do you want to change it?”, the reasons could be numerous. Maybe someone wants to be healthier so that they can participate in adventure sports, or they just want to start eating healthier. Stop shaming people whether or not they want to change their bodies.
Body shaming doesn’t lead to healthy habits
Throughout my life, I have been called, ‘moti’, ‘bhains’, ‘haathi’, and any other larger animal. I have been told over and over again that because I am fat, I’m also ugly. I have been rejected for multiple marriage alliances because I am fat. Not because they met me and thought I was a bad person, only and only because they saw a photo that showed the size of my body.
I have been told by multiple people in life that I need to lose weight, that my body is ugly, and that if I need to fit into good clothes, I need to become half my size. Let me be honest, none of these things motivated me to lose weight. What they did was give me body image issues, low self-esteem, and a very bad relationship with my body and food. And that’s just wrong.
So hell yes, I’m going to celebrate my body now that I know myself and the world better. And no shamer’s going to stop me.
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